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Peters welcomes APEC unity on North Korea

Peters welcomes APEC unity on North Korea

APEC foreign ministers are united in calling for the Six Party Talks on North Korea to meet soon, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting of APEC Foreign Ministers in Hanoi on the eve of the Leaders Summit, Mr Peters said it was important that the grouping of Asia-Pacific economies took a strong stance on North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

"North Korea should be in no doubt as to what we in APEC think.

"We welcome the news that North Korea has agreed to return to the Six Party Talks, but the talks have to result in concrete progress towards the objective of the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsular," Mr Peters said.

"In the meantime, New Zealand is working to give effect to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718. North Korea must be under no illusion as to what the international community thinks of the nuclear test.

"The Resolution sends a clear and strong message to North Korea and includes exactly the type of targeted sanctions that New Zealand supports.

"We were glad to work to get the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders to include a statement of concern about North Korea's recent nuclear test at the recent Leaders Meeting in Fiji, and believe it is important that North Korea understands the strong views of APEC economies as well.

"New Zealand is also an active participant in the Proliferation Security Initiative. The Asia-Pacific region remains under-represented in the PSI and we are keen to encourage wider participation in this initiative.

"As North Korea heads into winter, our thoughts go out to its people, who must endure another harsh season of famine and want, while their leaders yet again disregard their welfare in favour of their own self interest and survival.

"The contrast between our discussions here about economic and trade liberalisation and human security contrasts starkly and shamefully with the plight of the ordinary North Korean family," Mr Peters said.

ENDS

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